Reader Challenge for January 2008 and December 2007 Reader Challenge Winners

December 2007 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our December 2007 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of “Windows Vista in a Nutshell,” goes to Dan Nease, of Oregon. Second prize, a copy of “Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide,” goes to Thomas C. Doyle, Jr., of South Carolina. Both books are from O'Reilly Media (

January 2008 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Vista Update challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by Jan.10, 2008. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number. Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct. I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on Jan. 11, 2008.

The January 2008 Challenge:

Over the years of writing for “Windows IT Pro” magazine I've referred to functions and techniques I used as a consultant in the years before Windows networking was popular (or available). These articles always produce many nostalgic, often amusing, email messages from readers who are almost as old as I am. So, since the beginning of a new year invokes the vision of Father Time (in this case, Mother Time), this challenge should be easy for those of us who call ourselves "old timers."

In the old days, IRQs were a major headache when setting up computers for a network. When you installed a NIC, you often had to change its jumpers to assign a different IRQ, to make sure you didn't interfere with another device on the computer. Today, thanks to PCI and APCI technology, multiple devices can share IRQs and we almost never have to think about them, so we don't have to get out the tweezers and move jumpers. (I can remember asking clients if I could open computers that were being discarded, so I could get the jumpers. I'd store them in little pill jars, which provided the replacements I needed when the jumper I was changing dropped and got lost in the rug, or skidded across the floor and disappeared.) How much do you know (or remember) about IRQs?

Question #1: How many IRQs exist in a PC?

A. 12
B. 15
C. 21

Question #2: Which of the following device types does not use an IRQ

B. Video
C. Keyboard

Question #3: If you need additional IRQs to install additional devices, which of the following statements represents the correct method?

A. You can add a second processor that is designed to provide additional IRQs.
B. You can buy a multi-media device that has its own set of unique IRQs.
C. You're out of luck, you can't add IRQs.

Here are the answers!

1: B
2: A
3: C
Good job, everyone

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